tv CNN Newsroom CNN October 22, 2012 2:00pm-4:00pm EDT
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hi there. i'm brooke baldwin. good to be with you on this monday. let's get right to it. third and final debate, seven hours away. and here is just about the past half hour or so, president obama has arrived in southern florida. we should tell you that mitt romney is already there. the scene of tonight's debate is boca raton. and the subject is foreign policy. and the format will be this, barack obama and mitt romney, seated, they're going to be seated around a table with bob schieffer of cbs news. that's a hall you're looking at, obviously, it is a rehearsal. as you can see, they will be pretty cozy sitting around that table there. and now just in time for tonight's big debate, a very big story concerning foreign policy. possible, possible talks between the united states and iran after the election. one on one talks about iran's
nuclear program and that would be a major shift in washington's policy toward tehran. keep in mind, though, the obama administration and iran both denight the talks have been agreed to. jim acosta, to you, he's at the scene for us of tonight's big debate, our coverage by the way begins tonight at 7:00 eastern. curious timing here, the story about potential talks between the u.s. and iran. i'm guessing that could take center stage tonight. >> reporter: i think that's right, brooke. you know, we tried to ask mitt romney that question yesterday when his staff came out for a football game with the reporters who cover his campaign. one of the report tleers tried ask mitt romney about the story in "the new york times" as to whether or not he would support the face to face talks between the united states and iran. he didn't really answer the question. he wanted to focus on football during that afternoon. and so i think it will come up tonight. i think you're also going to perhaps see a return to that
libya discussion that we saw flare up at the last week's debate in new york. i think the romney campaign is also signaling they'll be going after the president on, say, his comments about vladimir putin. remember those comments he made to dmitry medvedev when he said after the election, i'll have more flexibility and then med d medvedev said i'll transmit that to vladimir. the romney campaign put out a web video poking fun at the president for that. we might see mitt romney bring that up. i've had several conversations with some top romney advisers in the last hour or so, and it is interesting to see what may be coming tonight, brooke. we may be seeing another round, another feisty round in these debates between the president and mitt romney. i talked to a senior romney strategist leading the hotel where mitt romney has been doing his debate prep about an hour ago and asked about this possibility. they said that they are preparing for a president who will not come out like a lamb. and even though that -- this debate setting tonight is going
to be around a round table discussion, i just talked to a democratic source a few moments ago, brooke, who said if you look at how they're going to be seated at the table tonight, it is going to be very interesting. bob schieffer will be across from them, but then mitt romney and president obama will be seated very close to one another. so unlike last week, at the town hall debate, where they were crossing the stage to invade each other's personal space, they will already be in each other's personal space. >> like the vice presidential debate. >> reporter: right. >> back and forth and back and forth, right. >> reporter: that's right. so you may see -- i was talking to a democratic source about this and they said, they don't have to walk up to each other, they may be kicking each other under the table. i think that's probably taking it too far, but i do think both sides are preparing for this possibility that unlike what you would imagine that would happen at a round table discussion, sort of a subdued conversation about foreign policy issues this could get testy tonight. >> let's hope not for bruised shins in the morning for either
of these gentlemen. but i do think that a debate when you're seated is more conducive to that back and forth and possible interruptions back and forth. before i let you go, though, m jim, you've been covering this campaign so closely, what are you listening for tonight? >> reporter: you know, one of the things i think we'll be listening for is the discussion on libya. it came up at last week's debate. you saw mitt romney in the eyes of some viewers have a misstep when he challenged the president exactly what he said in that rose garden -- >> it seems like such an obvious opening for mitt romney. >> reporter: that's right. but recall in the post debate events and speeches romney had after the debate, he did not bring that up. it is curious as to whether or not mitt romney will bring that up tonight. that's one i'll be looking for. the other thing i'll be looking for is who will bring up osama bin laden first. obviously that is something the president will want to bring up tonight. but might it be in mitt romney's
interest to bring it up first? and basically congratulate the president on taking out bin laden and sort of removing that issue from the table, moving forward. that might be a smart debate tactic. i brought it up with a romney campaign insider from debate prep and he wouldn't bite on that. >> good question. >> reporter: an interesting tactic that we might see play out tonight. >> we'll look for it. jim acosta, we'll be watching. we absolutely will be watching. thank you so much for us from florida. with me from washington our chief national correspondent john king. what is the most important thing for each candidate to accomplish tonight and, john, let's begin with mitt romney. >> reporter: mitt romney is the challenger, brooke. he immediates to convince the american people he's an incredible commander in chief. he's in the state of florida, a couple of thousand jewish votes in state of florida could help him there. he'll be tough on the president suggesting there is too much distance between the united states and israel. he has to be careful as he prosecutes that case.
he wants to say in his view he wants to make the case the president has been soft on several national security issues, wants to make the case that the president is not on top of things, the president is not driving the discussions, but is following, leading from behind is a term you'll hear from governor romney tonight. he also has to convince people, look this is an election about the economy, the economy, the economy. he has to show people that he has the gravitas and the temperament to be commander in chief. >> we watch him to pivot toward the economy, even though is a foreign policy debate. what about the president? >> reporter: the president will pivot toward the economy on several occasions as well. talking about the china challenge, that's a security test and an economic test. whether you're talking about the european financial crisis, the management of that, that san economic test. the president will say tonight, i promise to end the war in iraq, i promise to begin the end of the war in afghanistan, i've kept that promise. the president will argue there is a peace dividend, my term, not his, you have money that you can bring home to the united states. the biggest test for the president, though, brooke, is to prove he's on top of it. governor romney will say look at libya, look at egypt, look at
syria. this is the united states of america is not driving the world's discussion, it is following. it is reacting and the president has to make the case and the benghazi discussion, the libya discussion will be i think first biggest centerpiece of this, the carry over from the last debate, that yes, it is a tough world, yes, things happen, you can't control everything, but he has to make the case he's on top of it. >> all of a sudden we're within two weeks of the election. i want to talk big picture with you again. let me pose this question to you. it seems mitt romney made major inroads in florida, and could very well -- could very well win that important state come november 6th. that said, we have polls today, i'll show you numbers here, showing president obama still leading ohio, leading wisconsin, leading iowa. is the obama campaign starting to build this firefirewall, if will, around those three states and think that that may be the election right there? >> reporter: the romney campaign
says those states are closer than the poll suggests. but there is zero question that is the key to the president's strategy. you put up ohio, wisconsin and iowa. if the president wins those three states, brooke, and nothing else changes from how we have the map now if the president wins those three states, you see them there, that would give him -- he's at 237 now, there are 237 electoral college votes, tossups if you add those three in, that's 34 more, that's 271. if nothing else changed in the map, the president wins those three there, he's the next president of the united states. even if mitt romney won everything else that we listed as a battleground now, everything else, nevada, colorado, virginia, north carolina, new hampshire, and florida, that would get mitt romney to 267, close, but close doesn't count. he would have to change something else on the map, take away pennsylvania, take away michigan, if the president can win ohio, wisconsin and oiowa. these guys will be camping out in midwest, paying income tax there. >> we'll watch for you and
everyone else talking about the debate. our coverage on cnn and cnn.com begins at 7:00 eastern this evening. coming up next, dan rather joins me live on today's political climate and the questions he would love to ask both the president and mitt romney tonight. do not miss this conversation here. plus, the titles that made lance armstrong a legend are now gone. stripped away in today's bombshell here, his breaking point. [ man ] in hong kong, on my way to the board meeting... anne's tablet called my phone. anne's tablet was chatting with a tablet in sydney...
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once again, foreign policy debate tonight, 9:00 p.m. eastern. our cnn coverage begins at 7:00. and joining me now new york, so pleased to have you with us, veteran news correspondent dan rather. good to see you, sir. >> good to see you again, brooke. >> i believe in early happy birthday is in order. what is this, the tenth anniversary of 7-0? 7-1? >> how about that? thank you very much. >> you're welcome. let's switch gears, i want to talk about foreign policy taking center stage tonight in boca raton, i found myself with my producer here, thinking about foreign policy, thinking back to
1968, way back when. president nixon, let's show our viewers, a much younger dan rather squaring off with president richard nixon. there he is standing, dan rather on the left, this is 1968, you have candidate richard nixon, ran on what was called a secret plan to end the vietnam war. and as we all know, richard nixon was elected, relekelected but did not end the war in vietnam. my question is about voters today in 2012. do you think they would be willing to vote for a candidate who makes a promise and let's be honest that both these candidates have been criticized for, you know, not exactly offering up clear agendas, do you think they would vote for that person without the spe specifics. >> the record shows they probably would, unfortunately. one can argue they shouldn't, but i think they would. >> even today. >> even today. for example, as you pointed out, in this campaign already, president obama has made
promises that he hasn't been specific about. one can argue and i think rightly so that perhaps governor romney has laid out some promises that he's been even less specific about. but to answer your question, yes. voters don't pay nearly as close attention to the campaigns as reporters and political operatives do. it is not only possible, but probable, but candidates can make promises and not settle on specifics and say i'll handle it later. >> what is -- just fast-forward to tonight here, if you were there, in boca raton, what is the one foreign policy question you are absolutely dying to ask of the president? >> well, i would think of the president or both candidates? >> let's say the president. >> for the president, it is one thing, what is in your opinion the single biggest threat to world peace and our own national
security? and in a second term, if you're re-elected, what would you do to alleviate that threat. >> what about to governor romney? >> it would be exactly the same question to him, if elected, what do you now consider the single biggest threat to world peace and our national security? and if elected, what would you do to diminish that threat. >> i have some sound. i want to play some sound, mitt romney, last week, the last debate. i have a feeling we might hear some version of that this evening. here he was. >> the president's policy throughout the middle east began with an apology tour and pursue a strategy of leading from behind, and this strategy is unraveling before our very eyes. >> unraveling before our very eyes. we have heard it from romney. we heard it from paul ryan. would you, dan rather, would you press romney for specifics on that? i ask that question because it doesn't seem to be that much difference either in terms of specifics or in terms of obama and romney when it comes to syria, iran, afghanistan and iraq as well. what to do? >> well, the question for
governor romney and equally tough questions of other varieties for president obama, but the question to governor romney is that he has talked tough about russia, calling it in effect our number one enemy and opponent. he's talked tough about china. he's talked tough and threateningly about iran, talked tougher about syria. so the question is, third, do you think even though we're the world's ranking economic and military superpower that we can afford to have confrontations with all of those countries with our military already stretched thin and our economy shaky, does it make sense to be in effect threatening russia, china, iran and syria to name just two, north korea would be another. so that would be a go ask him. i think governor romney has been -- he's seen some benefit of being on the offensive saying president obama is weak. but it also leaves him vulnerable on, wow, is this a guy to keep the peace. >> right. the tough talk kind of makes you wonder what that then could lead
to. but, you know, we talked about politics being blood sport today. i want to go back to 1968, democratic convention, in chicago. roll it. >> take your hands off of me. unless you intend to arrest me, don't push me, please. don't push me. take your hands off of me unless you plan to arrest me. >> dan rather, getting roughed up. this is the floor of the dnc. i can't see you. but do you miss those days when politics -- there is the smile, when politics was really rough? >> well, politics is still rough. it is still very much a blood sport. i do miss the conventions where things were decided as you know so well, brooke, that the modern political conventions of both parties, nothing is decided there. >> pep rallies. >> all prescripted. in 1968, things were actually decided at the republican and democratic convention, i do miss that. i don't miss the punch in the stomach i got. >> get your hands off me, you say. dan rather reports, this is your
show, on access tv. tell me about your facebook page and your invitation there to all your followers. >> well, our program this week on access tv, we try to do one hour a week on deep digging investigative reports, international coverage and political coverage. this week i think it is timely, we have the last days of moammar gadhafi, what happened in the last days and hours of moammar gadhafi's demise and eventual death? and what that tells us about what is going on in libya today. one expects libya to be front and center at tonight's presidential debate. if libya does not come up into tonight's presidential debate, i think you're more likely to see ice on the equator than you not to see that happen. so we think our program is timely about what happened to gadhafi, what really happened to him and what that tells us about today. >> yeah. how could it not? libya has to come up. dan rather, thank you. thank you for allowing us to pull some vintage dan rather as well. just in time for the busiest travel season of the year, gas prices are on the way down.
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here is something you don't get to hear very often. i'm happy to say this. gas prices dropped and they will continue dropping, so that certainly is some good news. the price of the pump has already tumbled 12 cents in the past week. it is now at a national average of $3.67, according to aaa. it is expected to plunge another 30 cents by late november. alison kosik with good news from the new york stock exchange. alison to what do we owe this price drop? >> there are few factors at work here. for one, brooke, the supply crunch in california is easing, there was a power outage at one refinery there and a fire at another refinery. so what that does is caused prices to spike earlier this month. that is going away. also, prices are falling for crude oil and gas, that's traded on the futures market. both of those factor into lowering prices at the pump. then there is the typical seasonal slowdown you see after the peak summer driving season. what is happening is there is less demand, which means we don't see stations raising their
prices. refiners are switching to a cheaper blend of fuel this time of year, known as the winter blend. it is no longer using the cleaner more expensive summer blend from a couple of months ago. roll all that together and it brings down prices for gas at least a little bit where you drive bit gas station, say, wow, prices are actually lower. >> here's what i want to ask you for more, the question is, might we actually dip below the $3 a gallon mark or is that just crazy, crazy talk? >> i think it is crazy talk, a little wishful thinking but i'll try not to burst your bubble completely. we talked to gas analysts and they expect prices to bottom in the $3.35 to $3.50 a gallon range. they're not expected to fall below the $3 mark. patrick thinks prices could go to $3.25 a gallon between thanksgiving and christmas. he expects many americans to choose driving over flying this holiday season if they have only, say, a five to six-hour ride. if there are any more refinery
issues, any kind of disruption to supply that can wind up making prices go right back up. talking about numbers real fast, looking at the dow, it is down 73 points, extending the declines from friday. >> okay. alison kosik, we appreciate it. it is being called president obama's kill list. his use of drones to take out terrorists and it is really come up on the campaign trail or in the debates thus far. but tonight my next guest wrote a stern piece aimed directly at the president, says it better come up, and they better have answers. tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 when i'm trading, i'm so into it, tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 hours can go by before i realize tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 that i haven't even looked away from my screen. tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 that kind of focus... tdd#: 1-800-345-2550 that's what i have when i trade. tdd#: 1-800-345-2550
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trail or at the debate. that being drone. and, yet, a drone is president obama's weapon of choice. that is the title of an opinion piece from september in which cnn national security analyst peter bergen writes the president has authorized, quote, six times more strikes than the number during president george w. bush's eight years in office. wasn't i want to turn to the author of this piece, tom juneau spoke with me about his report on the president's kill list and he wrote that choosing who is on it is very much so cloaked in secrecy, so much part of your thesis, the crux of your piece. great to have you here. as we talk growns and as drones say you were there, what is the one question, pose it to president obama first what would you ask him on drones? >> he has sort of relentlessly expanded the use of drones
throughout his presidency. would that expansion proceed unchecked through the second term or what would he do to limit this sort of ongoing expansion of the use of not just drones, but targeted killings in general? >> you talked in your esquire piece about collateral damage and abdul rahman awlaki. >> two weeks later they were not killed in the same strike. the son was 400 miles away from where the father was, he was out looking for his father at the time and was killed -- >> sitting with his friends. >> right. we know so little about what happened to abdul rahman awlaki, it is amazing, especially given the fact he was never accused of terrorism, 16 year old, an american citizen, and we know nothing. >> but what are the alternatives to drones? we discussed this before, you
think of sending troops in, you can think of, you know, having people in custody and simply releasing them. is the alternative not worse? >> well, i mean, i think that is a little bit of a false dichotomy that is set up. >> how? >> because they always sort of -- they talk about drones sort of as an alternative to war. that drones are sort of cleaner than war, that they're more precise than war, that they're more measured than war. >> do you agree with that? >> all of these things may be true, but they used the precision, the measured quality of drones to expand this program. i talked to a person during the summer who was a source for me in the story, who had been taking part in some targeting decisions. and who had said that basically the use of -- drones were sort of so precise that they were using it to go after people that they would have never gone after for even capture or
interrogation. >> so precision is a good thing. >> right. >> precision is a good thing. i was talking to fareed zakaria, on the show on friday, we were talking about how one concern could be if this technology, talking about this because of the "washington post" piece how the cia is requesting more drones from the administration. he said, but here's the thing, let me just play this this is fareed zakaria. >> if other nations start doing it, that's when we start getting to worry. if the russians start using drones and say, hey, the americans use them -- >> right. so what happens if other countries, presumably once the president is elected or not, that will have to -- that process will be passed along to the next president. take it away from the u.s. if our own technology is in the hands of other countries, does that worry you? >> it worries me because it is not just technology. the president has for the last two years or the administration has been making an argument in favor of drones. it has been basically saying we
can use these virtually at anytime and at any place to protect our interests. that has been a consistent argument on the part of the administration. how can you make that argument and basically all of a sudden deny that to other countries? what if russia does want to use drones? what if china does want to use drones? hezbollah flew an unarmed drone over israel, i believe, two weeks ago. what if hezbollah wants to use a drone. the argument that has been made for drones is basically acompanies the technology. it is a technology that is essentially meant to be used and i think that's one of the large problems with it. >> i know because of your reporting, you're hoping drones coming up tonight in the debate. you'll be watching for it. we'll be watching for it. thank you so much. >> great to be here. today, the final blow to lance armstrong's cycling career. >> lance armstrong has no place in cycling. >> just ahead, armstrong
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they made him a legend, but now lance armstrong is losing his seven tour de france titles. just totally wipd oed out by th international cycling union. >> -- ban lance armstrong from cycling and strip him of his seven tour de france titles. lance arm strong has no place in cyc cycling. >> this news comes in response to finding what it calls overwhelming evidence that armstrong was involved in a doping program. but, watching his live strong anniversary event in texas just yesterday, you would never know lance armstrong is a man disgraced. victor blackwell was at that event in austin. he joins me live. victor, what did lance armstrong
have to say for himself? >> reporter: well, brooke, first let's put this into context. he was in austin, where i am. his head kwaerquarters for live is behind me. his home is here. he was surrounded by cyclists many cancer survivors. he was surrounded by friends. he referenced the controversy but not talk about it directly. here is what he told them. >> obviously it has been an interesting and as i said the other night at times very difficult few weeks. people ask me a lot how are you doing? and i tell them, i say, i've been better. but i've also been worse. >> reporter: so no mention of the usada's report, their claim to have overwhelming evidence he used performance enhancing drugs to wint seven tour de france titles, no mention of what his future would be with livestrong after stepping down as chair, brooke. >> so he's now been stripped of these seven titles. what else has happened over the
course of the last day with regard to fallout here? >> reporter: well, since that announcement in geneva, it has been a domino effect. almost immediately he lost another endorsement from oakley, the company that makes the sunglasses. they will not support lance armstrong but will continue to support livestrong. he's become synonymous with yellow. not only because it is the color of the band that a lot of people wear, representing livestrong, but those seven yellow jerseys. we reached out to the company that manages the tour de france, they said they will let him keep those jerseys, however, the french cycling federation, which paid out almost $4 million in prize money for those seven wins, they have said they want that money back. we also reached out to an insurance company that under -- the underwriter for some bonuses for winning, they said they paid him out about $12 million between 2001 and 2004. they also released a statement
that says that it is improper for him to keep that money. brooke? >> victor blackwell for us in austin. we appreciate it. we'll keep watching that story unfold. meantime, violence erupts on the streets of beirut today following at assassination of lebanon's intelligence chief. now, just in, the u.s. is getting involved in the case. details from the region next. it's hard to see opportunity in today's challenging environment. unless you have the right perspective. bny mellon wealth management has the vision and experience to look beyond the obvious. we'll uncover opportunities, find hidden risk, and make success a reality. bny mellon wealth management
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astrazeneca may be able to help. the united states is sending an fbi team to help investigate last friday's car bombing in beirut. this blast has set off a tide of civil unrest in lebanon and the clashes at times have been deafening. i know you hear that. you think that must be gunfire. it's not. it is actually tear gas canisters police used against demonstrators. this is just yesterday. look at the smoke. now, the protesters, they want the prime minister out because they believe his ties to syria played a part in the death of lebanon's intelligence chief.
the government says wassim al hassan was on his way to talk about a recent threat linked to syria when he was killed. all of this is playing into the people's fears. the violence is just beginning. florida cnn's nick payton walsh in beirut. >> violence worse in the north of the country in tripoli, but here in the capital as well, exchange of gun fire, from sunni and shia sectarian districts. we went to one area where two palestinian brothers were shot on their motorcycle, one of them killed by the gunfire. the army later said they shot them because the brother opened fire upon their soldiers but locals insisted that they had been shot by a sniper from another sectarian group in a neighboring district. that gives you an idea of how confused the situation on the ground can be. the fear being of retaliation
between these different sectarian groups. a protest was supposed to happen on marta square today at 5:00, but that turned out to be very small in number. many of the pro western coalition involved in that demonstration marching towards the prime minister's office, but in much smaller numbers compared to the unrest we saw on sunday. so beirut really on edge at the moment, uneasy about the violence ahead and very much hoping, i'm sure, that tonight will see calm. brooke? democrats, they will blast mitt romney's lack of experience on the world stage, but keep in mind, two governors have won the presidency over the past 20 years without a beefy foreign policy resume. of course i'm talking about bill clinton and george w. bush. but even though their situations are similar, romney's advisers tell us tonight the republican will tout his resume as ceo and his experience turning around quote/unquote messy situations.
speaking of bill clinton, i want to bring in a man who helped get number 42 elected, live, pretty blue skies there in boca raton, florida, it is mr. paul begala. cnn political contributor and senior adviser to the democratic super pac priorities usa action. paul, welcome. >> hi, brooke. how are you? >> i'm great. when it comes to president obama's foreign policy chops, i know when you're going to tell me, let's get this out of the way. roll it. >> not everybody agrees with some of the decisions i've made. when it comes to our national security, i mean what i say. i said i would end the war in libya -- in iraq, and i did. i said that we would go after al qaeda and bin laden, we have. i said we would transition out of afghanistan and start making sure that afghans are responsible for their own security. that's what i'm doing. >> so, paul, that was a preview. we know what the president is going to say tonight in terms of defending himself. my question to you is what happens when mitt romney makes tonight about the economy?
>> well, that is where voters are. if i were counseling governor romney, i would say, don't be too fast about that. you got to cross the threshold of commander in chief. you've got to be able to -- and i think he can, articulate where, when and why you would send troops into harm's way. you isn't simply take every question and make it about the economy, because also by the way, his ceo record is actually a net negative if you look at the polls. i think the president can smack back and say, there is more to foreign policy than investing in swiss bank accounts and the cayman islands, governor romney. you have to be commander in chief and defend america. >> that's what you would say if you were giving him a little advice. we have a poll, according to the new harvard poll, nearly half of voters where you are in florida, and in ohio. 42%. they think america should pay less attention to problems overseas. you made the point people care about the economy. if that's the case, romney's strategy tonight, if he does pivot toward the economy, it could pay off.
right? >> well, it could, but don't forget, we have over 60,000 troops in combat in harm's way in afghanistan right now. mitt romney forgot to mention them in his convention address. now, you're right, governor ronald reagan would never have made that mistake. governor bill clinton would have never made that mistake. governor george bush would never have made that mistake. i would be careful about being too fast about saying, it is only just the economy. they're intertwined and i think you'll hear lots of discussion about, for example, china. but i think the president also has a pretty good argument when he says, look, i ended combat operations in iraq and mitt romney called pulling our troops out of iraq tragic. well, most americans think it was wonderful. if they want to rebuild a nation and do nation building, they want to rebuild one here at home. >> the views of both these men, they're actually not that far apart. what is the one area you're hoping the president will
distance himself from governor romney? >> well, where there has really been combat, afghanistan and iraq. it really is, this is a citizen. it is unconscionable to ignore the troops as governor romney did in his convention speech. i'm sure feels bad about that, he won't make that mistake tonight, i hope he won't. but governor romney has said he wants more combat troops in afghanistan and in the most dangerous places. this was a flashpoint in the vice presidential debate between paul ryan and joe biden where vice president biden said, wait a minute, i want the afghans fighting for afghanistan in the most dangerous places and then second, of course, was iraq. when you say it was an error, when it was tragic to pull our combat troops out of iraq, that's not where the american people are. they want to end the war in afghanistan, they're glad we ended the war in iraq. >> before i let you go two major pressing issues, of course, iran and syria, libya is huge, that's a whole other story here, when it comes to iran and syria, they don't seem too different. how does the president distance himself? >> well, i think on syria,
especially, i think actually both camps made important mistakes regarding the attack on our consulate in benghazi. the obama administration made a mistake in getting out ahead of the facts. they were relying on legitimate intelligence reports, i guess i don't fault them that badly for that but they made a mistake in getting out ahead of the facts too soon saying it was related to the videotape when it was not. romney made a terrible mistake, they put out a political statement when the attacks were going on, before we knew ambassador stevens was murdered. you can't play politics with american lives. i think both of them have a little bit of cleanup operation to do tonight on the question of libya. >> that's libya. i do want to talk iran. paul begala, thank you very much. we have much more on iran. that's next. [ male announcer ] this is anna, her long day teaching the perfect swing
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as president obama and mitt romney get ready to tackle foreign policy, tonight, did you see this over the weekend? the "new york times" publishing a report suggesting the u.s. had agreed to unprecedented one on one talks with iran over its nuclear program. this is according to senior administration officials. but i need to add this, just a couple of hours later, the white house issued a statement saying reports of these direct talks supposedly said to take place after the election are just not true.
that said, here are some numbers. this is according to a new harvard poll, 72% of voters in florida, 61% in ohio, they care much more about the iran nuclear issue than any other abroad. it is an important issue. wasn't to ta i want to talk about it with jim frederick. great to see you. >> hi, brooke. how are you? >> great. the administration, they're denying the talks with iran post election. iran denies the talks. what do you make of all of this, especially the timing here? >> well, i think it was clearly a trial balloon floated up because there probably are talks about talks. >> talks about talks. >> there is always talks about talks. we saw this with the taliban. there is always talks about talks. there was a trial balloon floated up to see how this would play before and after the debate. everybody's climbing down from this, but, you know, i don't think there is any -- we'll see what romney makes of this during the debate. but i think one of the things that obama would be well to
counter with was that, you know, as winston churchill once said, you know, jaw jaw is always better than war war. this might be an attempt by the romney camp to spin this into a weakness, but obama would be well advised to rebuff that notion. >> let's state sanctions are working like the president suggests. we have been reporting on the currency crisis. behind closed doors, does this impact iran's motivation to talk to the west? >> i think absolutely. i think there is no question that the sanctions are working. the sanctions are crippling. we sent a reporter into iran not too long ago and she came back with very clear indications that the sanctions were hitting not just what people criticized sanctions about hitting the lower strata of the economy, and not really hitting the centers of power from her evidence, she said it was hitting all sectors, all quadrants of the economy, having a very real effect. i think there is no question that the sanctions are very
definitely working. >> i read an article on time.com, this is massimo calabresy, let me quote. determining the moment when the dangers of a potential iranian bomb outweigh the dangers of military intervention may be the most important judgment the next president will make. so at what point -- at what point does the president have to abandon diplomatic talks in favor of getting in there, military action? >> that is not the column i was referring to, but it is very interesting one, very good one by massimo. but i think that is probably -- i think he's absolutely right. it is the most important question. but i would, in a dialogue, i would take massimo back to the late 1990s and early 2000s when we were saying this about north korea. a nuclear north korea was absolutely unthinkable and we would take all measures to stop it, even the military option, and guess what, we did it and now we have a nuclear north korea and the world is still
spinning. and they are rational actors too and they know the second they do anything reckless with their nuclear weapon, it will be the end of north korea. i think even among pundits and politicians, and journalists, there is a lot of talk that a nuclear iran is unthinkable. it is not only thinkable, we need to start preparing for the eventuality where that dichotomy that massimo talks about may not be the only one in play. >> jim frederick, editor of "time international." we'll be watching for iran to come up tonight in florida. now to this, despite speculation about his health, new information about cuba's fidel castro and i'll show you a newly released picture that may end rumors about his condition. [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus presents the cold truth.
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around the clock to help protect your money and financial information. here's your temporary card. welcome back. how was london? [ female announcer ] wells fargo. together we'll go far. cuba's former leader wants all to know he's alive and well. in fact, fidel castro says he doesn't, quote, even remember what a headache is. this is according to this article that has been published under his name on a state run
website today. the photos showing castro strolling in a garden were also posted on the site. cuban state media outlets have been trying to refute speculation that castro is close to death. he has not been seen in public since march. and we roll on, hour two, good to be with you, i'm brooke baldwin. politics tonight is the night for president obama and mitt romney. one final chance to make a lasting impression on you, the voter. one final primetime debate tonight. it is all centered on foreign policy. and with election day two weeks from tomorrow, it is all tied. look at this. 47 and 47, the latest cnn poll of polls, five nonpartisan surveys, all averaged together. 47% for romney. 47% for the president. both sides call ohio a must-win. it is going tougher and tighter to obama, leading romney just by three points. this is our new ohio poll of polls. and average of three surveys
taken since that second debate. and that brings us to florida. tonight's debate and our dana bash. dana, incumbent president oftentimes, they have the advantage, they have sat in that office as commander in chief for four years when it comes to foreign policy debates. i understand romney will be drawing on his experience as a ceo. shou how is that? >> reporter: one of the things i'm told he has been practicing is to try to not only draw on his experience as a ceo, but try to make a connection between being a commander in chief, being somebody who is responsible for very important issues around the globe, to what he has done as a ceo, and i talked to dan senior, who is a foreign policy adviser and somebody who has been in the room during debate prep, which is is virtually every day since the last debate. he said that he is somebody who has been involved in messy situations, run complicated organizations and that's not unlike what you have to do as commander in chief. you might hear some of that
tonight. you're also going to try to see mitt romney move the whole conversation about foreign policy to the economy, connect it not only because it is something that the american people care most about, but also it is because it is in his wheel house. and no other issue on the international stage can he make that connection with more than china. didn't necessarily have the best moment in the last debate on china, i played that for dan senior and asked how he can maybe recover this time. take a listen. >> i'll crack down on china. president bush didn't. >> governor, you're the last person who is going to get tough on china. what we have done when it comes to trade is not only sign three trade deals to open up new mash ets, but we also set up a task force for trade that goes after anybody who is taking advantage of american workers and businesses and not creating a level playing field. >> got him there. governor, you're the last person who can talk about china. how are you preparing to have a better response? >> there are many american
companies that do business abroad. as governor romney pointed out, even companies that president obama has a connection to, in terms of his own portfolio, but the fundamental issue is china is ascendant in every -- by every metric including economically. they're not playing fair. governor romney travels around the country, goes to places like ohio where he mets with companies that are being set back directly because of china's unfair trade practices and its currency manipulation. and he's a tough no nonsense competent negotiator who is going to put an end to this, period. >> you mentioned how tight the polls are in the state of ohio, brooke. this issue of china plays incredibly well in ohio because so many people there feel they have lost their jobs, lost their businesses because of those unfair trade practices with the powerhouse that is china. it is going to have to be
something that mitt romney does in a delicate way, because it could easily be an issue where the president comes back to him on and says, look, you talk tough, but i know what it is like to need knnuance when you' dealing with a country like china. >> dana bash, we appreciate it. we'll look for you during the cnn pregame debate here. but i do want to turn now to the obama team on the day of this for foreign policy debate. a new tv ad touting the president's success and navigating affairs. here is a look. >> a decade of war that cost us dearly and now for the president, a clear choice. president obama ended the iraq war. mitt romney would have left 30,000 troops there and called bringing them home tragic. >> here is -- that was a quick clip. as the obama campaign tries to get a jump on the foreign policy discussion that will happen in boca raton, jessica yellin is
there as well in the spin room. jessica, what is the strategy behind this new ad and how does team obama feel going into this evening? >> reporter: hi, brooke. the strategy is twofold, one to make the case that the president has kept his promises on foreign policy, that he's gotten the troops out of iraq and begun a timetable to withdraw from afghanistan, to set up the commander in chief test with mitt romney. and then to make this case that if romney doesn't -- that mitt romney hasn't laid out his own foreign policy or distinguished how his policy would be different from the president's. and if he doesn't agree with the president, well, then, he's making a case for endless war, would he leave troops in afghanistan, would he put troops back in iraq. would he commit u.s. resources to a war in syria or in iran. so either he's with the president or he's for endless war and trying to create that kind of a frame for the governor where the governor has to be for one or another.
as to how the president's team feels, they still insist that, look, the debate isn't the president's strongest format, but this is his most comfortable topic and one where they feel he does have an advantage on governor romney because he's been dealing with these issues for the last three and a half years, brooke. >> what about libya? what about, you know, presumably this time we just heard the interview with dana bash and dan senior that romney will come prepared when it comes to the white house's changing story, what should we expect from the president? >> reporter: you can bet, i'm sure, governor romney will be much more aggressive this time and with more data to go after the president. and i think what you'll hear from the president is an argument that he didn't change his story for any political reasons, that the story from the white house he changed when his intelligence information changed. that's what they have been telling us all along, the only reason the president, this is what they're saying, the only
reason the president offered a different story was because that's what he was hearing from the intelligence reports. and i believe that's what you can hear the president say later tonight as well. >> okay. and forgive me, dan senior. what about iran? we saw the article in the times this weekend, reported the administration ready to hold one on one talks with iran after the election. the white house is denying it. iran denying. how is the president prepared to handle it? >> reporter: this could play into the larger strategy i was talking about earlier because the president could argue, look, he would prefer to hold one on one talks with iran, rather than going into a war with iran. and that could be the frame through which he approaches this discussion, brooke. >> okay. jessica yellin, we appreciate it, we'll look for you tonight as well. reminding all of you, cnn's live debate coverage begins cnn, cnn.com 7:00 eastern. coming up next, veteran newsman dan rather tells me what
he would ask each presidential candidate tonight. plus, now that we know ambassador chris stevens warned the state department about security on the very day he was killed in benghazi, how does president obama defend that tonight? i'll speak live with a former state department official from both the bush and obama administrations. to tell real people about our new 15 under $15 menu. oh my goodness! oh my gosh, this looks amazing! that's a good deal! [ man ] wow! it is so good! [ male announcer ] our new maine stays! 15 entrees under $15, seafood, chicken and more! oo! the tilapia with roasted vegetables! i'm actually looking at the wood grilled chicken with portobello wine sauce. you so fascinated by the prices, you keep rambling on! i know! -that pork chop was great! -no more fast food friday's! so we gotta go! we're going to go to red lobster. yep. [ male announcer ] try our 15 under $15 menu and sea food differently!
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final debate of campaign 2012. less than six hours away, cnn coverage begins at 7:00 tonight eastern. and in case you missed it, i talked last hour to really a veteran, veteran covering presidential campaigns, dan rather. if you were there in boca raton, what is the one foreign policy question you are absolutely dying to ask of the president? >> well, i would think of the president or both candidates? >> let's take the president. >> for the president, one thing, what is in your opinion the single biggest threat to world peace and our own national security? and in a second term, if you're re-elected, what would you do to alleviate that threat? >> what about to governor romney? >> it would be exactly the same question to him, if elected, what do you now consider the
single biggest threat to world peace and our national security and if elected, what would you do to diminish that threat. >> i have some sound, i want to play some sound, this is mitt romney, from last week, the last debate, i have a feeling we might hear some version of that this evening. here he was. >> the president's policies throughout the middle east began with an apology tour and pursue a strategy leading from behind and this strategy is unraveling before our very eyes. >> unraveling before our very eyes. we have heard it from romney. we have heard it from paul ryan. would you press mitt romney for specifics on that? i ask that question because it does, as you point out, it doesn't seem to be, you know, not that much in terms of specifics or obama and romney when it comes to syria, iran, afghanistan, and iraq as well. what to do? >> well, the question for governor romney and they're equally tough questions of other varieties for president obama, but the question to governor romney is that he has talked tough about russia, calling it
in effect our number one enemy and opponent, talked tough about china, talked tough and threateningly about iran, talked tougher about syria, so the question is, even though you think we're the world's ranking economic and military superpower, that we can afford to have confrontations with all of those countries with our military already stretched thin and our economy shaky, does it make sense to be in effect threatening russia, china, iran and syria to name just two, north korea would be another. that would be a question to ask him. i think governor romney has been -- he's seen some benefit of being on the offensive saying president obama is weak. but it also leaves him vulnerable on, wow, is this a guy to keep the peace? >> right, all the tough talk kind of makes you wonder what that then could lead to. but, you know, we talked, dan, we talk about politics being blood sport today. back to 1968, democratic convention in chicago. roll it. >> take your hands off of me.
unless you intend to arrest me, don't push me, please. don't push me. take your hands off of me, unless you plan to arrest me. >> dan rather getting roughed up. this is the floor of the dnc. i can't see you. but i -- do you miss those days, when politics -- there's the smile, when politics was really rough? >> politics is still rough. it is still very much a blood sport. i do miss the conventions where things were decided as you know so well, brooke, that the modern political conventions of both parties, nothing is decided. >> pep rallies. >> all prescripted. in 1968, things were decided at both the republican and democratic convention, i do miss that. i don't miss the punch in the stomach. >> dan rather of access tv. dan, good to see you today. also this today, just release these cables show just hours before he was killed, u.s. ambassador to libya, christopher stevens had a quote unquote growing frustration that police
in the country were too weak and there is more. these cables show stevens asked for more security staff, at least three times in the months before he and three other americans died on september 11th at -- after the u.s. consulate in benghazi was attacked. and in one cable he writes, i'm quoting him, absence of significant deterrent has contributed to a security vacuum that is being exploited by independent actors. what we have seen are not random crimes of opportunity, but rather targeted and discriminate attacks. the words of chris stevens here. the republican chairman of the government committee here looking into benghazi released the documents friday night. and i want to bring in the former undersecretary of political affairs at the state department, nick burns. nick, welcome. >> thank you. >> you were at the state department for more than ten years, knowing about these cables now, can you just take me inside the state department, you know, when you're hearing words like this, like security vacuum and you're getting these
requests from an ambassador, what is the process like? how is it handled? >> well, brooke, i'm sure there will be lots of questions tonight about security post both president obama and governor romney. it is a very important issue. in the state department, of course, security for our diplomats, for our people overseas and more than 275 embassies and consulates, that's job one, that's the priority. it has been for second clinton a and her predecessors. we outside of government cannot possibly know all of the information and advice that went to the obama administration from the various embassies and consulates. secretary clinton ordered a review and investigation of exactly what happened in benghazi, and a lot of tough questions are going to be answered. i would think it would be wrong to rush to judgment, especially in the middle of a political campaign, and to start pointing fingers because that investigation itself should not be politicized and that
investigation led by a very esteemed retired diplomat tom pickering ought to be able to go forward on its own. i find the rush to judgment to be troubling. i hope the candidates can talk about two really important issues that seem to be lost here. how do we protect our diplomats and get full funding from the congress because congress cut funding for security for our diplomats. and how do we go after the terrorist group that killed ambassador stevens and his three colleagues? to me, brooke, it seems those are the two most important issues. >> let me jump in. on the vein of protecting our diplomats and you point out there are 275 consulates and embassies all around the world, is a request like this fairly common for additional security? are there certain hot spots around the world that, let's say you at the state department would have an extra eye on? >> well, security is a problem in many embassies around the world and in nearly every part of the world there are embassies that have security challenges to them. from one type or another.
so it is not uncommon in my experience to have requests for a third -- for further security and for further funding, obviously this was an extraordinary situation because libya is right in the middle of the arab revolution in a country whose government had been overthrown. so it was obviously a high priority. but i would say this, part of the problem is the state department has not received full funding. if it had full funding, it would be able to do more to ensure both the protection of our people as well as our facilities and that's why i think i hope that question is asked tonight. and i hope that both president obama and governor romney will be given a chance to answer that question. and i think it is fair to say why haven't we received full funding from the congress for our embassies and consulates until now? >> okay. so funding being a huge issue according to you. i do want to turn to the crisis in syria. you have served as i mentioned a moment ago, you served in the state department under both president bush, president obama.
what do you think would have been the response to syria under president bush? >> let me say, brooke, i served in every administration from the early '80s until president bush. i did not have the privilege of serving for president obama to set the report straight. syria is a very difficult case because unlike libya, this is urban warfare. and so any kind of intervention if it were to be planned by the united states and its allies would require a significant amount of troops. it would be very dangerous and probably very costly in human life. the question is now, with 25 to 30,000 civilians dead in syria, what can the u.s. and other like minded countries do to diminish support for bashar al assad, the dictator in syria to give further help to the rebels, no fly zone the right way to go, should there be humanitarian corridors set up so the thousands of people trying to come out, the women and children, can receive adequate humanitarian assistance, i don't think we're looking
realistically at a military intervention in syria, not at all. but we're probably looking at a greater effort to put further pressure on the assad regime and to help the refugees. >> okay. nick burns, former undersecretary of political affairs at the state department. nick, thank you. >> thank you. he lost a major endorsement deal with nike. then he stepped down from the cancer charity he founded. now the final career blow. lance armstrong has been stripped of his seven tour de france titles. coming up next, armstrong breaks his silence.
lance armstrong's world continues to unravel, as if being stripped of his seven tour de france cycling titles isn't enough, a texas insurance company says it wants millions in bonus money back. this is all in response to the u.s. anti-doping agency releasing what it calls overwhelming evidence that armstrong was involved in a doping program and just over this weekend, lance armstrong gave nothing more than really an indirect comment while attending a livestrong anniversary event. >> it has been an interesting and as i said the other night at times very difficult few weeks. people ask me a lot how are you
doing? and i tell them, well, i've been better. but i've also been worse. >> cnn's sports anchor don riddle is here. you're rubbing shoulders with friends, family, sports, sean penn. >> you can see their point of view. they were attending the 15th anniversary gala dinner for what has been an incredible 15 years for a cancer foundation that ha has raised half a billion dollars, helped 2.5 million people around the world. to them, it doesn't matter. i talked to sean penn about it, i said, does he still inspire you? he said, absolutely. you would be hypocrite to say he wasn't inspirational. what he did on the bike and what he did in that time is a really different story. >> what about the money, the bonus money? does he have to pay all of that back? >> he might well have to. >> how much are we talking?
>> he was paid $4 million in prize money. so they now want that back. but, i mean, that's pocket change when you think about all the money he was given in bonuses by his sponsors, endorsement deals and all the rest of that. these companies could quite legitimately come after him and say you misled all of us and we paid all that money thinking we were getting this, and actually were were paying for that. >> what about those if they're taking his titles away from the tour de france, what about those others who came in behind him, would they then get the title or -- >> good question. the international cycling union, they'll discuss that on friday. they're going to have another meeting. the tour de france who perversely don't get to decide who wins the title, still the international cycling union, said, just give them to nobody, put a line through those years, as if the tour just didn't exist, it is like a george orwell moment, pretend it never happened. who do you give it to? doping was so widespread, that
they were all cheating. many of them have been found guilty themselves or admitted they were doping. you can't really give it to anybody. >> talking to christine brennan the other day, she was saying, you know he did it when nike pulls out. she said, look at kobe bryant, ben roethlisberger, she rattled off a number of athletes, tiger woods, who have fallen off the -- off the tracks a little bit. they still stayed by them. nike has not. do you think lance armstrong will come forward and say, yes, i did it? >> i can't see it happening. he's denied it for so long. and the ways in which he's denied it make it so hard for him to do so. in 2005 in paris, he stood on the podium and said i feel sorry for you guys through the that can't believe in miracles. how do you go back on that? i think it would sound ridiculous if he apologized now. in any case, i don't think he can because of all of these lawsuits that would be open against him, from all these people wanting their money back. at least now he can say, i didn't definitely cheat. i just would rather not contest
the allegations. >> don, we'll see you again. don, thank you. when it comes to foreign policy back to politics, how is mitt romney different from former president george w. bush. and how does romney prove he's tougher than obama without implying war? margaret hoover, john avalon, they debate those topics next. jack, you're a little boring.
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debate, boca raton, florida, all on foreign policy. just as a neutral voice, how are the policies that different? >> well, that is actually a perfectly reasonable question. what we know is the rhetoric is different. mitt romney has been very unsparing in saying what he's against, trying to characterize president obama's foreign policy, which has been very popular with the american people, as apologizing for america. that kind of narrative riff which may be effective but it is not true. it is a lie. but what he's got to do is not simply saber rattle and try to attack the president, he's got to say what he's for. and that's a major challenge because it is not -- this becomes a question not just of how he contrasts with president obama, but how he contrasts with president bush. >> that's where i wanted to go next. i'll turn to your wife for that. margaret, how does governor romney say, you know, we heard the words tougher and stronger when it comes to iran, when it comes to syria, without sounding like he's ready to use force, without sounding like george w. bush? >> so i think that's a great
question and therein lies the fancy footwork that mitt romney's going to are to convey to the american people tonight. because you're right, we're in a different time, americans are war wary, we're not interested or eager to go off into other battlefields and try to solve the world's problems. on the other hand, what mitt romney continues to suggest and what republicans continue to suggest is that the americans are viewed with weakness in the middle east now. and so there actually is potentially a substantive policy difference in demonstrating posture, the posture of strength in the region, which actually -- posture can be policy. you want to communicate that you're willing to go to war with iran, not that you're necessarily going to, but you have a credible -- >> so you're saying if he says willingness, a willingness to go to war, you're saying that is him showing his posture? >> so what i'm suggesting is that while some people say there is actually substantively no policy difference between what mitt romney would did and what barack obama would do, what i'm suggesting is the posture of
projecting strength in the region actually amounts to a policy difference or could amount to a policy difference. >> do you agree with your wife? >> i don't. look, i think no question, you know, politics is perception and how it applies to foreign aff r affairs as well. let's be clear about the differences between president bush and president obama. the decision to focus on al qaeda and the killing of osama bin laden is effective for president obama. it hasn't been unilateral, military intervention. i think the american people experience that, saw a lot of unintended consequences it cost and want to turn the page on that era. the question for mitt romney is does he own that, does he own that and say, yes, i support the bush doctrine or have a different vision? if so, let's hear it. it is late in the game to not know what the foreign policy philosophy he's going to pursue. >> they were trying to get out of them, will they bring up obl? that's a huge win for the president or does he wait for
the president to bring it up? john, what do you think romney should do? >> i think he should acknowledge that success and say there are other areas in the world as well. it is a question of not just saber rattling but specifics. if you criticize what would you do differently, and too often we haven't seen that kind of specifics. the president has to lay out a clear second term agenda of how he deals with hot spots in the region. >> libya was a missed opportunity in that last debate, great opening for mitt romney. how does he handle it tonight? >> i think he has to say, you know what did the president know what did the administration know and when did they know it and why the missteps in communicating to the american people from the beginning because what the risk is is communicating a lack of uniformity or control over his administration, look he doesn't know where the ball is and who is saying what and this could be a damming narrative when you look at the entirety of his administration, energy policies, attorney general who being held in contempt of congress, i think what he needs to do is answer
clearly why there were missteps from the administration in the beginning. >> we'll leave it there. margaret hoover, john avalon, thanks, you too, appreciate it. >> thanks, brooke. it has been called president obama's kill list, his uniof dro -- use of drones to take out terrorists. tonight, my next guest wrote a very stern piece in directly president obama says it better come up and they better have answers. [ male announcer ] now you can swipe... scroll... tap... pinch... and zoom... in your car. introducing the all-new cadillac xts with cue. ♪ don't worry. we haven't forgotten,
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choice. it is actually the title of this opinion piece from september in which cnn national security analyst peter bergen writes that the president has authorized, quote, six times more strikes than the number during president george w. bush's eight years in office. and just earlier in the show, i spoke with the author of this article, this is from july's "esquire" magazine, the lethal presidency of barack obama. tom juneau spoke with me over the speaker about that report on the president's kill list and how choosing who is on that list is very much cloaked in secrecy, so juneau told me today the question he would ask of the president. >> he has relentlessly expanded the use of drones throughout his presidency, would that expansion proceed unchecked through the second term or what would he do to limit this sort of ongoing expansion of the use of not just drones, but targeted killings in
general. >> you talked in your esquire piece about collateral damage and about abdul rahman al awlaki, who was taken out by a drone. >> two weeks later. they were not killed in the same strike. he was out looking for his father at the time and was killed -- >> sitting with his friends. >> right. we know so little about what happened to abdul rahman al awlaki, he was 16 years old, he was an american citizen, and we know nothing. >> if our own technology is in the hands of other countries, does that worry you? >> well, it worries me because it is not just technology. the president has for the last two years or the administration has been making an argument in favor of drones. it has been basically saying that we can use these virtually
at any time and in any place to protect our interests. that has been a consistent argument on the part of the administration. how can you make that argument and basically all of a sudden deny that to other countries. what if russia does want to use drones? >> tom juneau, thanks again for joining me. by the way, go to esquire.com just today tom posted a piece about the multiple questions he would ask of both the president and governor romney. the rescue of six u.s. diplomats during the 1979 iranian hostage crisis now playing on the big screen and lena cho sits down with the real hostages and gets very candid details on how the conflict unfolded. i'm an expert on softball. and tea parties. i'll have more awkward conversations than i'm equipped for because i'm raising two girls on my own. i'll worry about the economy more than a few times before they're grown. but it's for them, so i've found a way. who matters most to you says the most about you.
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and ceo's alina cho sat down to speak with the real life stars of this incredible story. >> what happened? >> six of the hostages went out a back exit. >> where are they? >> reporter: ben affleck plays tony mendez, a real life cia operative who hatches a plan to rescue six americans who elouud capture. >> they're a dmcanadian film cr, i fly into tehran, we all fly out. >> if i'm doing a fake movie, it is going to be a fake hit. >> reporter: these are the real embassy workers on which the film is based. what was your first thought when you saw it. >> it was more exciting than the real thing. >> reporter: bob anders, lee shots, mark and coria lijek, kathleen stafford, five of the six. the first time they have all sat down together for a tv interview. the only one who couldn't be with us is kathleen's husband,
joe, currently working for the state department in the sudan. >> these are the actors who played you. what do you think? sure looks like joe. >> yeah. >> even got his little sweaters right. he used to wear sleeveless sweater vests. that's him. >> reporter: they took me back to the day, when iranian students climbed the wall and stormed the u.s. embassy. what went through your mind? >> this will only last for a little while before the government will come and stop this. and i just tried to keep my staff kind of calm and collected. >> i remember calling my mother after about the first 24, 48 hours and said, don't worry, you're going to see some things on the news, but i'm safe and i'll call you in a few days and i didn't call back for three months. >> reporter: 79 days they hid from the iranians in the homes of canadian diplomats and came to be known as the houseguests. >> people would come to the house, we would go upstairs and
hide. at one point, there were r revolutionary guards outside the door. >> there is a knock on the door, i open the door, and there is two guys standing there in trench coats. and i said, really? trench coats. >> this is what i do. i've never left anyone behind. >> tony is a very charming guy, very convincing. >> reporter: did you trust him? >> we didn't have a whole lot of choice. i think if we said no thanks, send in another infiltration expert -- >> you really believe your little story is going to make a difference when there is a gun to our heads? >> i this i my little story is the only thing between you and a gun to your head. >> reporter: movie spoiler, it worked. once they cleared iranian air space. >> we othered drinks and i'm sure the people on the plane, if they wondered, wondered why there were these arms that went up, as we made eye contact because we were sitting in
different places, but we knew why. >> reporter: alina cho, cnn, washington. >> got to go see that movie. they can't vote but their parents will and some american kids are asking some pretty serious questions of both the president and mitt romney. and linda ellerbee from nic news joins me live on what surprised her the most after sitting down with them for a special. ♪ hi dad. many years from now, when the subaru is theirs... hey. you missed a spot. ...i'll look back on this day and laugh. love. it's what makes a subaru, a subaru.
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so the third and final presidential debate happening tonight. and we are watching both of the candidates very closely. so closely in fact, we just wanted to turn around two of these photos. you can see mitt romney -- this is a seated debate, by the way. this is the only presidential debate in which these two gentlemen will be seated at this table. it's moderated by cbs's bob schieffer. so these two photos, again, reminder, the debate starts at 7:00 eastern. as far as topics here, immigration, the economy, national security, these are the issues that are front and center for american voters this
election year. but guess what? they're also on the minds of america's kids. every four years, nickelodeon's nick news asks kids to send in their questions for the candidates. so this year, president obama actually sat down to respond but mitt romney did not, blaming his schedule. so after hearing about the issues, these kids had a chance to vote for their next president all part of this online poll. joining me now is linda ellerbee, the host of "nick news." linda, a pleasure to have you on. part of your election special showcased this one kid whose family was clearly going through some tough times financially. and from what i can tell, a number of these teenagers are very aware of what's happening with regard to the economy. >> well, i think it's hard to avoid now when you consider the technology and the prevalence of it. kids today simply know more. they're aware of more. and hopefully they're getting
more involved in the political process. we look at what we do not as -- we're not supporting one candidate or another. for me, it's not important who wins. it's important that the kids get out there and practice voting. we're the practice field. >> the practice round before the real deal happens when they turn 18. i understand this is the big cnn exclusive here, linda. you're going to give us the results of the voting. >> i am indeed. and let me just preface it by saying that we've been doing this since 1988 and that's 24 years. and in five of the last six elections, the kids' vote has correctly predicted the grown-ups' vote and they have been right five out of the last six presidential elections. the winner is barack obama with a huge margin, 65% to romney's 35%. >> so the president gets another four years, according to middle school, teenagers --
>> middle school kids, mostly. and it's not just because -- i don't think it's because romney did not answer their questions because the only other time we had a candidate refuse, it was john kerry in 2004. he's a democrat. >> why was it? why do you think they picked the president? >> the kids picked him for president incorrectly, as it turned out. but it didn't matter to them that he had refused. so i don't think this time that the kids made their choice based on, well, romney didn't answer our questions. how they made their choices is something you would have to ask them. >> let's hear from one of these kids because as we mentioned, they're very aware. they know what's happening in the economy. but some of the questions were lighthearted as well, like this one -- >> i'm 15. i've been heartbroken before. have you ever been? and what did you learn about yourself from it?
>> i promise you that happens to all of us. that happened to me, where you get a girlfriend or a boyfriend and somehow it didn't turn out that well. i think the main thing you learn is that life goes on. >> somehow we manage through heartbreak. it's happened to all of us. >> you know, the reason that we put those questions in, because most of the questions are about the major issues. >> right. >> but the candidates are so used to answering -- you say jobs, the stump speech comes out. you say iran, the stump speech comes out. >> but heartbreak. >> a kid suddenly saying, have you ever had your heart broken? you get a chance to kind of see through the teflon that coats the candidates and get a little glimpse of the person inside. >> so of all the questions you heard this go-round, what's the question, what's the one moment that surprised you the most?
>> one kid asked the question, how do you know when you're right or when you're wrong? do you always know? and what if other people don't agree with you? you know, i heard that question and i thought, why aren't we grown-up journalists smart enough to ask a question like that? >> and to admit when we're wrong, we're wrong and say it. linda, thank you very much. we appreciate it. >> my pleasure. >> we will be hearing from both candidates tonight, the big presidential debate, boca raton, florida, watch starting at 7:00 eastern only here on cnn. new information now about cuba's fidel castro. we'll show you a newly released picture that perhaps will end speculation about his health.
down the three victims and wounding four others, 45-year-old radcliffe haughton killed himself. after a tense manhunt, his body was found hours later in a back room of the spa, just dais before his wife filed a restraining order against him, a judge ordered him to stay away from her. and cuba's former leader wants all to know he is alive and well. in fact, fidel castro says he doesn't, quote, even remember what a headache is. at least this is according to an article published under his name. on a state-run website today, you see these pictures showing castro strolling in a garden? they were posted on that same website as well. cuban state media outlets have been trying to refute speculation that castro is close to death. he hasn't been seen in public since march. and, again, quick reminder, big final presidential debate tonight, 9:00 is when it begins eastern time in bo ka rattan,